The Bear

Type Side Bet
Alias Chasing the Bear, Capture the Bear
Format Side Game
Number of players 2,3,4+
Team or Individual play Individual
  • The bear is a betting game that involves two bets; one placed on the front nine and the other placed on the back nine.
  • This game is played in stroke play, with each player playing their own ball. On the first tee, the bear is on the loose. The goal of this game is to capture the “bear”, which is done by winning a hole, and to keep it until the end of the nine. So, the player with the lowest score on a hole “captures” the bear.
  • Let’s say Player A captured the bear on the first hole. Player A will continue to hold the bear until another player scores the lowest score and wins a hole and, in turn, the bear. If no player wins a hole, Player A will continue to hold the bear.
  • The player who has the bear at the end of the front nine wins the front nine bet.
  • The same process is repeated on the back nine and the player to have the bear at the end wins that bet.


    • The betting amount is decided among the group of players. Some prefer to keep the same amount for both bets, say $5 or $10. The players who win the bet are then either awarded a total of $5 or $10, or they get this amount from each player.
    • Some groups prefer to double the betting amount every time the bear is captured. For example, if the starting bet was $1 and the bear was caught four times in the front nine, then the front nine bet would be worth $16.